Kevonte Mitchell

Pelicans Pitchers Turn Up the Heat at Riverview Park

Kevonte Mitchell walloped a two-run HR (off Brailyn Marquez), D. J. Wilson singled twice, doubled, walked, stole two bases, and scored two runs, and SP Paul Richan hurled six innings of shutout ball with nine stikeouts (also 6/2 GO/AO, all three hits he allowed were singles, he issued no walks, and he threw 80% strikes) and combined with five relievers to fan 20, helping the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) cruise past the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Cubs) 6-1 in Minor League Camp Spring Training game action Friday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was pre-planned as an eleven inning contest so that all of the pitchers who needed to throw could get their work, and while the twenty strikeouts racked up by Myrtle Beach pitchers was certainly aided by playing two additional innings, Pelicans pitchers did punch-out 16 SB-Cubs hitters through nine innings.    

Also, three of the pitchers who threw for Myrtle Beach (Ian Clarkin, Jordan Minch, and Wyatt Short) were actually Tennessee relievers who needed work (the Minch FB was sitting 94-95 and touched 97, BTW), and another (LHP Ryan Lawlor) was recently moved-down to South Bend from Myrtle Beach but (like the Tennessee trio) he needed work and the South Bend bullpen dance card was full.   

As is typical this time of year, several players from the Eugene/Mesa squad (Vicens, K. Moreno, L. Diaz, O. Nunez, Hurd, Zardon, and Daniel) served as late-inning replacements for the MB and SB starters, and the ones who played for South Bend combined to go 1-7 with six strikeouts (which also contributed to the prodigious Pelicans pitchers' strikeout total).     

In Minor League Camp news, OF Brandon Hughes (Cubs 2017 16th round draft pick - Michigan State) is being converted to a LHP. Hughes is the second Cubs outfielder to be converted to pitcher this month (Jamie Galazin was the other one). Like Galazin, Hughes does have some prior experience as a pitcher in college (he appeared in seven games as a reliever in his freshman season at MSU). 

Here is the box score from the game:  

Mitchell Grand Salami Gives Angels Indigestion at Riverview

Kevonte Mitchell blasted a grand slam over the LF fence and onto the south bank of the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway to cap a nine-run explosion in the bottom of the 5th inning as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-affiliate) turned a 5-0 deficit into a 9-5 lead and then hung-on for dear life to edge the Inland Empire 66ers (Los Angeles Angels Hi-A affiliate) 9-8 on Field #6, and RHSP Erich Uelmen (Cubs 2017 4th round draft pick - Cal Poly SLO) hurled four innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts, no walks (72% strikes), and 6/0 GO/AO, and Cam Balego (RBI triple), Alexander Guerra (RBI double), and Luis Hidalgo (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to stake the Cubs Lo-A South Bend affiliate to a 4-1 lead, but the Burlington Bees (Angels Lo-A affiliate) came-back in the late innings to tie the game at four and then the potential winning run was picked-off 2nd base with no outs in the bottom of the 9th to thwart a Cub plan to plate the winning run with a sac bunt and maybe a sac fly, as Burlington and South Bend played to a 4-4 tie on Field #5, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Tuesday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

The MLB Cubs had the day off so Kyle Hendricks was supposed to have started the Myrtle Beach game on Field #6, but he was scratched due to illness (strep throat). 

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

Cubs Don't Show Brothers Much Hospitality at Riverview

D. J. Wilson smacked a two-run triple and a single, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs, Zack Short doubled twice and scored twice, Austin Upshaw hammered a two-run home run, Chris Pieters knocked-in three runs with a two-run single and a FC, stole a base, and scored twice, and Stephen Bruno, Kevonte Mitchell, and Miguel Amaya each drilled an RBI double, as the Cubs drubbed the Chinatrust Brothers 13-5 in Minor League Camp game action Thursday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Tung-Jung Wu belted a two-run HR for the Brothers in a losing cause.

The game was called after eight innings of play.

Duncan Robinson got the start for the Cubs, working two innings and allowing a run on four hits (all four hits were singles) and no walks, with four strikeouts (all swinging). Trevor Clifton followed Robinson to the hill and worked two shutout innings, allowing two hits (both doubles) and no walks, with two strikeouts (both looking). Michael Rucker also threw two innings, surrendering a two-run HR along the way while throwing 82% strikes. As things stand right now, Robinson, Clifton, and Rucker would appear to be 3/5 of the AA Tennessee Smokies projected Opening Day starting rotation.

The Brothers (AKA "Brother Elephants") are one of the four clubs in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), and they have been having their Spring Training at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson (former Spring Training home of the White Sox and the Diamondbacks) for the past few weeks, sharing the facility with los Toros de Tijuana (Mexican League).

Cory Snyder is the Brothers manager, Jim Presley is the hitting coach, and Scott Budner is the pitching coach, so there is a distinct MLB feel to the operation. Ex-MLB or minor league pitchers Casey Coleman, Zack Segovia, Nick Additon, and Mitch Lively are on the Brothers roster, although none of them pitched in the game. Several of the Brothers played for Team Chinese Taipei in the most-recent World Baseball Classic, so they have some experience playing with and against MLB and minor league players.  

Here is the box score from the game (English translation only):

A's Trounce Cubs at Fitch Park

Jhonny Rodriguez (RBI single), Eric Marinez (two-run double), Jesus Lage (two-run double), Steven Pallares (RBI double), Carlos Hiciano (RBI single), Javier Godard (RBI triple), and Luis Barrera (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight an 18-hit attack, helping the Athletics bash the Cubs 11-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Kevonte Mitchell belted a two-run home run and Vimael Machin drilled an RBI triple to highlight a three-run first inning for the Cubs, but that was all the scoring the Cubs could muster. 

RHSP Aaron Brooks (On Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with a hip contusion) continued his EXST rehab, starting the game and working 2.2 IP (54 pitches). He allowed three runs on six hits (four singles, two doubles, and a triple), did not issue any walks, and struck out three (all three swinging) with a 2/2 GO/AO. 

The game was called by mutual consent after eight innings of play. 

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

All That Jazz at Talking Stick

Jazz Chisholm (2015 IFA - Bahamas - $200K bonus) drilled two triples and an RBI single and scored a run and RHSP Pierce Romero tossed three innings of shutout ball, as the Diamondbacks edged the Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action Saturday morning on Ramada Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Marcus Mastrobuoni doubled twice, walked, and scored a run and Kevonte Mitchell singled twice, stole a base, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause. 

Mitchell also turned-in the Defensive Play of the Game, an inning-ending run-saving diving catch on the warning track in right-centerfield in the top of the 3rd. He also started an 8-6-2 relay that cut-down a runner at home who was attempting to score from 2nd base on a double off the CF Batter's Eye (the runner went back to 2nd base to tag up before realizing that the ball was carrying over Mitchell's head, thanks to a nice catch-fake by one-time HS hoops star Mitchell). 

On the negative side, Mitchell was thrown out 7-5 attempting to advance from 1st to 3rd on a line-drive single to LF with two outs in the top of the 1st, thus making the third out of the inning at 3rd base.

So I guess you have to take the good with the bad.  

EXST Cubs RBI leader Isaac Paredes (2015 IFA - Mexico - $800K bonus) started his second consecutive game at 3B (he also played there in the intrasquad game on Thursday). It's very likely that he will eventually move to 3B (one scout who has been following the EXST Cubs projects Paredes as a catcher!), so the process to move him from SS to 3B may already have started. Paredes (who just turned 17 in February) is a VERY slow runner, but he has plus-HR & XBH power, he doesn't strike out a lot for a power-hitter (10% K-rate), and he has soft hands and a strong arm at SS (committing only one error so far in 15 Cactus League EXST games).   

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

Cubs Sweep Rockies as Fife Completes Rehab

Kevonte Mitchell doubled, walked twice, and drove-in a run and Erling Moreno and two relievers combined to hurl a four-hit shutout as the Cubs blanked the Rockies 3-0 on Field #4, and Chris Pieters singled, tripled and scored a run, Alex Bautista singled twice, stole a base, scored two runs, and knocked-in another, and Eric Gonzalez smacked a solo home run, leading the Cubs to a 6-3 victory over the Rockies on Field #5, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Alex Castellanos (ex-LAD) belted a two-run HR for the Rockies in a losing cause on Field #5. 

The game on Field #4 was called by mutual consent after seven innings of play, and the game on Field #5 was called by mutual-consent after six innings of play. 

Speedy waterbug Edgar Rondon laid-down a picture-perfect two-out squeeze-bunt hit to get the Cubs on the board in the bottom of the 2nd inning on Field #4, after practicing his bunting in pre-game BP. (I guess that's why they say "practice makes perfect"). 

Cubs outfielders Jose Gonzalez (knee or ankle injury after tripping over 1st base on two-run RBI single on Field #5) and Robert Garcia (hit on foot by pitch on Field #4) left their games with injuries. 

RHSP Stephen Fife (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL with strained oblique since 4/15) made his final EXST rehab start, working four innings (81 pitches - 69% strikes). He was not particularly effective, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits (four singles, a triple, and the Castellanos two-run bomb). He also hit a batter, threw a WP, and struck out six, with a 3/3 GO/AO. His next start will likely be for the I-Cubs next Monday or Tuesday, but don't be surprised if he gets released sooner rather later.    

RHRP Nick Sarianides made his Cubs debut, throwing a 1-2-3 inning (F-8, P-2, K). The 26-year old Sarianides was released by the Diamondbacks earlier this month after struggling to throw strikes at AA Mobile, but he led the Hi-A California League (an extreme hitters league) in both saves and strikeouts last season after being acquired by the D'backs from Tres Rivieres (Cam-Am League) in 2014. He was mentioned by Baseball America prior to last December's Rule 5 Draft as a likely candidate to get selected, although he was not. Sarianides features a 91-92 MPH fastball and a dive-bomb change-up (which is his strikeout pitch). He probably won't be at EXST very long, because he was in "game shape" when the Cubs signed him. He looked very good today.   

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only): 

Cease to Exist - Submission is a Gift

Sam Koenig lofted a two-run double over the centerfielder's head with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, as the Angels rallied to tie the Cubs 2-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, AZ. 

Kevonte Mitchell tripled, walked, and scored a run for the Cubs.  

RHSP Dylan Cease got the start for the Cubs and was dominating, easily retiring the first eleven Angels he faced (K, 3-U, K, 5-3, K, 3-U, 1-3, 4-3, K, K, 3-U) and firing four innings of one-hit shutout ball (the one hit being a ground single to CF with two outs in the bottom of the 4th). He issued no walks, struck out five, and posted a 7/0 GO/AO (seven weak-contact GO). None of the Angel batters hit the ball in the air against him. 

Cease's fastball sat consistenly at 98-99 MPH from the gitgo, and he threw his 79-81 MPH curve for strikes time-after-time, mixing it effectively with his heater. He also threw one or two change-ups.

Cease threw 64% strikes (the highest percentage of strikes thrown in a game by Cease so far in his pro career - minimum 30 pitches), and not only did he not walk anyone, he went to three balls on only three of the 13 batters he faced. (I've actually seen Cease outings where he went to three balls on every batter he faced). 

Today's outing may have been the most-dominating performance of Cease's pro career, rivaling his eye-popping ("Is that Arrieta?") outing versus the Brewers a couple of weeks ago.  

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):  

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